Money, Marriage, Mergers & Mutual Debt. Maybe You Need To Move On…

There is only one way to “catch socially transmitted debt.” What is it? Marriage.

Marriage merges not only hearts but also debts. Not fun but facts.

Many of my clients are uncomfortable asking their soon to be spouse about their credit history but they shouldn’t be. Why? Because what you don’t know about your partners past CAN and WILL hurt you.

If I’ve learned anything in life it’s to be financially independent. It was a tough lesson for me. My first two marriages took twenty years of my life. Sixteen years of controlling marriages and four years of fighting for my freedom in courtrooms.

For most of my life I worked two jobs. Cindy did too. We knew that the harder we worked the further we would get in life and viewed working as an investment for our future. We were always thrilled to be gainfully employed. We didn’t call in sick or give half our effort. We worked harder than our coworkers who hated their job or the manager or resented their pay. The world doesn’t owe you a living. You must earn your own living.

Independence is difficult if you are in a controlling marriage. I’ve been in not one but two controlling marriages. I learned a lot from my first marriage. Leaving without money or credit cards was difficult. You need an escape plan. Although I worked my earnings went into a joint account I had no control over.

By the time I married my second husband I insisted on keeping my money separate.

The irony was that during my first and second divorce that both of my vehicles weren’t in my name and the payments were so high that I couldn’t afford to keep them.

To sum it up I left both my marriages without a car. I went through hell getting my own wheels not once but twice. Life is a teacher. History will repeat itself unless you change history.

My vehicles are paid in cash and in my name. I don’t carry any debt and haven’t in many years. I have enough money to run if I need to and live comfortably for several years.

The “ability to run” is important to me not because my marriage is in trouble.

The ability to run gives me freedom. Peace of mind. Security. No one can take my vehicles I own them outright. No one owns paper on me or holds a note. I don’t owe anyone and I like it that way.

My current husband is well aware of what I went through with my two previous husbands and understands my need to be financially independent and secure.

When discussing the aspects of marriage and mergers with my clients, I always “visit” the subject of debt. Why? Because the number one cause of divorce is often money.

When I marry a couple it’s my desire that they stay married unless of course there are valid reasons for dissolving the marriage.

My clients questions can sometimes surprise me but my life is an open book. My wisdom when giving advice comes from my own experience.

Recently I was asked about “whether I had discussed money with my husband prior to marrying him.”

The answer was “absolutely.”

The client asking me was concerned and angry about her fiancée making large purchases of an expensive vehicle and watch but “cheaping out” on her wedding ring.

This wedding ring scenario comes up all the time. “It’s not big enough. Or “isn’t it supposed to be three months of his earnings?” No. It’s a thoughtful gift not an investment.

I wouldn’t even let my husband buy me a wedding ring. Why? I change rings all the time and don’t have a favorite. I didn’t want to be tied or expected to wear the same ring everyday. I like variety.

The ring in question my client doesn’t like is an heirloom making the size insignificant to her fiancée. For him, the priceless emotional value means far more to the giver than the receiver.

Why everyone gets so hung up on the size of a ring I have no idea. It won’t keep you warm at night ladies. It won’t comfort you when you are ill. It’s a ring.

If it’s a ring handed down through a family it’s also an honor to be presented with an heirloom ring whether you are happy with the size of style or not.

It should be noted that sharing your life with someone should never be based on the size or the value of your ring. Why? Because your ring is a material possession that can be changed or altered and often is by couples who “upsize” down the road.

I’m often asked about my marriage by clients. “How are you so happy? Don’t you ever disagree? Why do you always travel with Cindy rather than your husband?” Cindy and I have a good time and our travel is business related. Working holiday trips.

I’m at a place in my life where I’ve earned happiness. I don’t have an idiot manager cutting my commission because I earn too much. I don’t have massive debt from living beyond my means. I have freedom and the ability to work because I enjoy the work, the clients, the variety and the adventure.

If a client asking about my marriage is traveling troubled waters and considering a divorce, their questions can often get more involved.

“Do you fight over money Miss Wendy?” No honey. I keep my own money separated and my husbands income goes into joint accounts and investments. Why? My husband is old school and older than I am. He doesn’t want me to spend my money. He wants me to put it back. He is nearly 70 and has never used my money to pay bills.

My money from my husbands standpoint is my money. His money is our money because he wants it to be. My husband wants to support me.

“Does he ask you about how much you spend on credit cards, dinner, your family or friends?” Good Lord no. Matthew has no idea what I spend on my family and would freak out if he did know. He never even sees my statements from my accounts. I don’t carry credit card debt. I pay cash and use PayPal to send money to family. My husband has no family and never asks about what I spend. He doesn’t care. In fact everyday he asks “what can I do for you today” and means it.

“Why would you keep separate credit cards and separate checking accounts?”

It’s a valid question and the answer will enlighten you as much as it does the brides who ask me. I’ve never had a client that was a groom ask me the questions my brides do. I don’t know why but they don’t.

A week ago “money questions” came up again from another client. Bridget was having problems with a husband who wants more, more, more. I was concerned. A few months ago this client had asked me for a loan.

I’m not in the banking business but it was Christmas and Bridget had lost her job. I sent her a check in a Christmas card as I knew she was struggling.

I don’t make a habit of sending money to clients as a whole and prefer to direct them to friends or family for loans but Bridget has no friends or family to ask. I know far more about my clients and their situations than the average vendor, planner or officiant. How? They contact me on a regular basis. I am their go to gal.

From advice to insight and everywhere in between, I have over 2,000 clients that are not only social media connections after their event but also friends.

Currently, Bridget is getting “squeezed” by her husband. My client, Bridget “is on the outside.” Her husband is on the inside. Last week Bridget contacted me regarding “sending another $700 after I had just sent $500. I don’t have that kind of money to send him.”

This situation was alarming to me for a few reasons. First, I knew that Bridget had been enduring financial problems and secondly, a demand for money from an inmate especially large amounts of money always concerns me.

This “squeeze play” is not uncommon for inmates to put the squeeze on the person in the free world.

This type of “money grab” occurs 10-20% of the time to my clients though. The Clients marrying an inmate are already doing it all and doing it all alone on the outside.

My clients always contact me. Whether it’s for information, advice or resources.

I’ve been called “the mother I never had” hundreds of times. The person I’m close to is my client not the inmate. I never see or speak to an inmate until wedding date.

My relationship start to finish throughout the planning process is lengthy with anyone planning to marry an inmate.

Perhaps the “person on the inside” secretly wishes the person “on the outside” wouldn’t contact me for advice but the truth is that my clients are more than clients. They are my friends and as such they contact me for a wide range of things including help writing appeal letters or preparing parole packets or letters of support or unusual situations such as a “money grab” or “squeeze play.”

Several months ago another client unwittingly became involved with another client. Something as crazy as two brides and one groom? Fighting over the same man? An inmate?

Both clients were planning to marry the same inmate at Ellis Unit.

I know what you are thinking as I was thinking the same thing. What the? The phone call from a hysterical client in North Dakota regarding the “other woman” and my other client in San Antonio kicked off my weekend with a bang. On a Sunday no less.

One client was calling me crying and meanwhile messaging the other client who had no idea this was going on.

Both women were sending this inmate money. I advised both women to dump the inmate but both women decided to play this out and let the inmate choose.

Listen folks, I’m old and I’m wise and if you don’t have trust you will never have a solid marriage. I hate secrets. Sly behavior. Skeletons in the closet. I thrive on transparency.

My San Antonio bride after months of me trying to convince her not to marry the inmate was determined to do so. My heart was heavy at that wedding. Valerie looked beautiful. She was so excited.

I fought my own emotions and attitude screening into the shakedown area to marry this sweet young lady to a “player.”

I had even tried to flip that Ellis Unit wedding to Cindy because my feelings were so strong regarding protecting Valerie from having her heart broken again.

The groom (probably due to his guilty conscience) had whispered “I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about me.” I had and none of it was good. I had “not only heard it all” but also seen it all.

Brandi had sent me videos of Raul’s love letters with copies of the envelopes containing his name and inmate number from Ellis Unit.

This was no mistake. It was the same person professing to love Brandi in North Dakota while playing Valerie in San Antonio. Ugh.

Attempting to be civil at the wedding of Valerie and Raul while knowing that Brandi in North Dakota had become the “woman scorned” who continued to call me every other day or so to commiserate was stressful while officiating the marriage of Valerie which made my heart even heavier. I knew Brandi was devastated.

What I didn’t know was Brandi was lucky she wasn’t marrying Raul.

Valerie would have been lucky if she hadn’t married Raul. But I can’t choose who my clients marry.

Would Raul love and adore Valerie? Would he be honest am loyal?

After taking advantage of two women professing to love them how could Raul love anyone? Did he have any ethics? I doubted it.

I wasn’t happy about Valerie’s first marriage being with Raul. She was petite. Innocent. Beautiful. Funny. Driven. I truly was worried about her future as his wife.

Within two weeks of being paroled, Raul had struck Valerie. She called me while in California to tell me and ask for help divorcing him. I immediately committed to help Valerie with her divorce and continue to assist her by helping her to rebuild her self esteem.

Like Brandi, Valerie still contacts me and stays in touch. They both deserve far more in a relationship than a player or flim flam man. They deserve to find love and have love.

I advised my client, Bridget that “sending all of her money to an inmate solely because they were married and he had asked would leave her unable to pay her rent and that if was in her best interest and to tell him her financial situation.” She did. He told her that if she didn’t send the money he wanted a divorce. Coercion or extortion? Love has no price tag.

This is now day 6 of the “money squeeze” and the continued animosity between a wife and husband. Bridget told me that her husband calls her names. I was even further upset by hearing the details.

Bridget had met her husband in middle school. They found each other again through his mother on FB. They hadn’t seen one another in 30 years the day I married them at Michael Unit.

But, the honeymoon didn’t last long. The husband saw opportunity. Bridget saw love everlasting. I’m seeing the result of “saying no” being used against my client and reinforcing the need for her to establish boundaries.

No inmate needs $1200. No inmate should expect anyone to be sending that kind of money either.

Now for anyone wondering why financial independence is so important to me, I will elaborate. My first marriage I was young and dumb. I didn’t have my own credit. My first husband told me that I didn’t need it.

I didn’t know how important establishing my own credit was but I would learn.

During my first divorce and child custody battle I needed a car that I could afford. The car payments were out of my financial range because I was feeding the sharks. The sharks? Who were they? My attorney my sons Ad Lidem attorney. When I say sharks I mean it. Attorneys don’t care if you have a car or can pay your bills. I have a bad taste for family law attorneys and custody battles. They are wars. Wars that leave scars.

Unable to afford my car payment, I gave my car back to my first husband.

Borrowing a car from my twin until I could figure out how to get my own wheels, I had no credit but I had a mink coat. That mink coat and my ability to barter was how I obtained a car with no credit. I flipped the fur for the down payment.

People wonder how Cindy and I know to flip items so well? EXPERIENCE and a childhood of poverty are why. Hard knocks. Hard life. Grit, determination and dedication are how and why the Texas Twins escaped a life of poverty.

Texas Twins Treasures and Texas Twins Treasures merging to create The Pawning Planners works so well for us because Cindy and I are experienced appraisers and flippers.

We’ve been flipping items for 30 plus years and have worked in sales of numerous brands just as long. We know what sells. We know what has value. If you don’t never try bartering. You will lose money and lose it quickly.

I learned to create my own credit. My first car in my name was a really big deal to me. The car payments created my credit. I was never late on a car payment in 1990.

I now pay in full for vehicles but for many years couldn’t afford to and financed my vehicles.

Credit is important. I spent many years establishing my credit.

No one would take my hard fought for and won credit from me but my second husband tried.

How so? Buckle up. I had never had an issue with the IRS in my life.

Like any other God fearing American, I was terrified of the IRS and overpaid taxes.

But, my second husband insisted on filing jointly. “We are married you need to sign this.” Did I know my second husband regularly “negotiated his taxes?” No. Did I know he had years of property liens filed against him? No. But I would learn.

I wish I didn’t have to learn everything the hard way but when you do I can assure you that you will remember the lesson.

A letter from the IRS with my name on it was why I filed Innocent Spouse and won. I was shocked. Horrified. My hard fought for credit? I had to fight and educate myself to prepare for the battle. I studied tax law. Everything was in my second husbands name. I had no access to his money, real estate or income. I worked. Had my own checking accounts and credit cards. Paid my own bills.

That tax lien of $87k would have effectively ruined my credit. How would I ever repay it? I had a son in private school. That lien would have prevented me from finding a job, renting an apartment or buying a car.

I fought it and I won. The tax lien was removed from my credit at about the same time the “overlap” affair between Laurie and my second husband surfaced. Between the tax lien and the infidelity, I had to leave. I could no longer trust my husband with any aspect of my life. Six years of sneakiness. I was done. He was equally angry about me winning the Innocent Spouse Case.

One year before his death, we met at a funeral. It was odd to see each other after nearly 15 years. He laughed and told me he had always loved me and still did. He also told me winning that tax lien case nearly destroyed him. I told him “I was left with no choice. I wasn’t trying to destroy you. I was fighting to protect my credit. No one gave me good credit. I fought for it. I sacrificed to have it. My sons private school was the largest expense I had. I had a one year old car when I married you. A car I had bought myself I had just traded up my first car in my name to get that car. I was proud of it. You told me it wasn’t good enough for me and gave it to your nephew. I didn’t need a $50k car to drive. I had a car. You took me out of a car in my name and put me in one in your name. You left me no choices. I was never trying to hurt you. I was protecting myself and my future.”

I meant every word. I didn’t have parents to call to help me. I had no one but me. I had to fight and I did. I’m sorry it hurt my ex but if I had to do it again I would. I had a son to take care of. I had responsibilities.

There are reasons I’m so fiercely independent. EXPERIENCE.

When I married Matthew I made a deal. “I want my own car in my name only. I want to keep my own checking accounts and credit cards.” I then explained why. The terms were non negotiable.

Why? During my first marriage my car wasn’t in my name ever. During the divorce and child custody battle I couldn’t afford to make the payments. Why? I was paying my attorney, my sons Ad Lidem attorney and trying to support myself I couldn’t afford a luxury car payment. I gave the car back and used that mink coat to get my own car during my first divorce. The payments on my new to me car were far more affordable. It didn’t have an air conditioner though. I drove that car 4 years in Texas without A/C.

One year prior to marrying my second husband, I traded that four year old Geo without A/C in for a Taurus wagon. Brand new. Working A/C. Electric windows. I was thrilled and proud of that car. It took me four years to get a car with A/C after a ten year marriage of luxury cars left me without credit and a car.

My second husband didn’t like my precious Taurus. He wanted his wife in a Cadillac.

“I will buy you a nicer luxury car.” That nicer car was in his name. When I divorced him after the tax lien and an affair, he wanted “his car back or you can make the payments. They are $1105 a month.”

$1105 a month? I gave the car back.

Left without a car fighting that tax lien, I walked right into Frank Kent Cadillac who had serviced the Cadillac my husband had bought me in his name and got a job selling luxury cars to get a free demo, gas, insurance and an income.

I’m both resilient AND resourceful. I didn’t have family or anyone to ask for help so I decided that a free car from a dealership solved my car problems.

The only person aside from my current husband who has ever helped me is my twin sister. We had no parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or anyone to help us. We had each other. We’ve always had each other.

“It’s best to leave a toxic relationship. You can’t share righteousness with someone who has none.” Cindy Daniel

By the time I sold my current husband, Matthew his second Frank Kent Cadillac, he asked me to dinner.

After my second divorce I didn’t date. In fact, I’ve never really dated. I married. Cindy did too. We were never dating types.

After all I’d been through in two marriages and twenty years with the wrong husbands, I was leery of men. Matthew had a kind smile though. He was funny. Lighthearted and honest. I decided to take a chance on love. But, I would bring back up on that date. I brought my twin sister, twin Grandnieces, nieces and son with me.

I knew if Matthew could handle my twin, the twins, my nieces and my son that he was a keeper. He is. We are still married and happy. We have a partnership and he understands my need to have at least one vehicle in my name only and plenty of money to run and start over if I need to.

I have three deal breakers regarding marriage. Infidelity, violence and control. I refuse to be controlled by anyone for any reason.

Now back to Bridget, she’s independent, self supporting, loving and dedicated. She recently had weight loss surgery and is feeling happy in her own skin. She’s also being accused of being unfaithful and having demands to send money from an inmate who calls her names? That’s not a solid foundation. That’s a controlling and manipulative situation that no one deserves to be in. Bridget needs to find love and you can’t find Mr Right if you are tied down to Mr Wrong.

Sure, some of ya all might be thinking about Mr Right Now but trust me, it’s better to be alone than tied down with dead weight. I’d rather pull my wagon alone than pull it with someone sitting on their ass in it.

Brandi from North Dakota who was dumped by Raul in favor of Valerie who he wasn’t worthy of called me. She had lost her job due to Covid-19. She was still choosing the wrong men. She had moved in with her brother. They had an argument and he kicked her out. She was at a truck stop in Fargo ND. She had no gas. I talked to her for over an hour and contacted the Salvation Army. They are going to help Brandi. Raul and his shenanigans affected both Valerie and Brandi. Both of them would have been better off if they had never fallen for him. Valerie is doing well working two jobs and taking care of her children and mother in her home. Brandi has a way to go getting back on her feet. I’m hoping Brandi does. The Salvation Army is the best place for her right now. She’s alone and broken and needs more support than I can give her during our weekly calls.

Marriage is a partnership. You either have a partner or you don’t. The ball is in your court. Remember this though, sexually transmitted debt can only be transferred through marriage.

You need to know if your partner has debt. Tax debt. Bad debt. Child support debt. Any debt. Why? Because when you marry, you assume their debt. The difference for me was that my second husband went to great lengths not to merge his income or assets with mine making proving my case easier. If you file jointly and your spouse has existing tax debts, they spread to you.

Have clear cut boundaries of what you can live with. If your partner is pushing you to do more than you are capable of, you might just be with the wrong partner.

Bridget is still on the fence as to what she should do although I’m certain that the first time someone called me names when they didn’t get their way that I would be looking for a way out.

Many of you need to know that verbal abuse and physical abuse are both abuse. Someone doesn’t have to hit you to control or hurt you. If someone is hurting you and professing to love you they don’t love you. They are incapable of love. Know the difference. Call me. Email me. But get a second opinion from someone who cares about you, your well being and your future.